how anyone finds out about anything

my senior year of college, a friend of mine
whose coffee order i knew and liked
how her lips struggled around
her braces – her boyfriend died.
i found out via facebook – the same way
i learned who was getting married and
what to eat for breakfast. she posted
a picture of the two of them laying
atop a picnic blanket on their backs.
they looked like beetles – limbs
too tired to move. their frame of vision:
all sky.

i called  to tell her i couldn’t imagine
what she felt, to tell her i was sorry
for not being able to understand but mostly
just relieved. still, i wanted to know,
in the way that we all like to be a little
close to death sometimes, what
it was like to lose something you have
done so well at holding on to.

do you still take the time to peel
off the white flesh encasing
the grapefruit, does it still give you the sweet
after the bitter? how do your small shoulders
bear the weight of the entire bed?
have you changed the temperature
of the shower water, or has your body become
something you are afraid to get wet,
a collector’s item, worth more because
he can no longer love you?

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sun play

i am winter sunburn. the skin on my legs peels
like a sticker. beneath a freckle sloughed off
there is another. i drink water ’til my stomach
is tight but my body stays sand. my mother
is a fire marshall and she says burns are the worst
way to go, the dying can take months. i snap
fresh aloe stalks onto the parts i can reach and
imagine my body entombed in gauze.

ruby-fruit

the razor package promised it could not snag skin
but somehow your leg is bleeding.
drops tumble like pomegranate seeds – try to gather them
in your cupped hands, raise them to your mouth.
discover it does not taste like ruby-fruit.

instead your mouth is pennies
and you read once that the body tastes
copper briefly before death.
maybe the shin’s razor nick is the end of you.
maybe your shower head has been trying
to drown you all along.

the violence is there, in how you can’t look away,
how you keep telling your hands to apply pressure
to the cut, but instead fingers pull the wound open:
the gasping of little crimson lips. you live in the swirls
of red curling clockwise down the drain.
your blood resists the clotting.

“poem journals”

I’m in a poetry workshop this semester (likely my final poetry workshop of my undergrad life *gasp*) that requires daily “poem journals.” These can be really short/barely poems/basically whatever – just something to get the brain whirring. So there might be a lot of those on here this semester. Here are two from the last couple days:

i grab two small handfuls of stomach, pull
in opposite directions. a set of ribs rises,
sharpens against the air. Palms full of hips, low
back, pinches of thigh – tug it all tight over bone,
bare the ridge lines, peaks. i cannot bring myself
to wish for less – it is easier instead to wish
for more hands.

***

i wear headphones that cover the entire ear,
look expensive enough to be soundproofed.

they are broken, have never blocked out anything.
i keep them plugged in and sometimes i nod my head
in rhythm with something i don’t hear.

i stand close to couples waiting at the crosswalk,
pick the seat at the coffee shop next to friends
whose bodies form a triangle over tabletop.

i suck sounds through the cheap padding,
imagining my ears covered with their open mouths.

(Old poem) / Write More?

I found a very rambling version of this poem while reading through my journal from February/March-ish. I think I never really edited it and put it up because I ended up stealing from it for a bunch of different poems – there were several parts that I like, which I ended up recycling into other things. So I never put up the original. But when I found it today I thought I might as well!

Also – I have been not great at writing poetry for the past few months. I just haven’t been focusing on it as much as I want to be. I was thinking of starting up the “poem every day” thing again – especially since I’m going to be a camp counselor for two weeks starting Saturday, which should give me plenty of observational material to work with, if nothing else.

*ahem* okay, here’s the poem:

he moved in beneath my eyelids 8 days ago –
i could have picked any part of me to use for this metaphor.
his residency beneath my fingernails (a weak
explanation for the lack of chewing – I am growing
him room to set up his bed frame),
a nest in the pocket of my cheek (count his parts
like watermelon seeds, taste him before i wake up).

i could explain the terms of tenancy – see the lease
in the bones of my back.
i could have said he inhabits the hourglass between breasts,
how he hesitates to touch me but doesn’t wait
to make a home out of a woman.

when do you ask an overstayed guest
to start paying rent?

nesting

i build him a nest beneath my diaphragm:
collected bits of gum wrapper, dark hairs,
unraveled thread, abandoned earring backs
for months, flooded my pockets with
the folded corners of strangers’ lives
and then swallowed them,
prayed they’d arrange themselves inside me.

when i told him i found a place he could sleep,
he was eager until discovery:
i’d have to swallow him, too.
i promised to take him with a cool glass of water,
swore i’d never dream of using my teeth.